June 14, 2024

■  Jane B. Cadalig 

The Department of Labor and Employment-Cordillera has allotted P502 million as assistance to farmers adversely affected by the El Niño.

DOLE-Cordillera Director Nathaniel Lacambra said the fund was allotted from the National Expenditure Program (NEP) because the agency does not have a separate fund for El Niño.

NEP is the operating expenses and capital outlays needed for the programs, projects, and activities of agencies under the executive department.

Lacambra said the amount is being disbursed as assistance to the farmers through the local government units and the National Irrigation Administration that disbursed the funds under the emergency employment program, such as the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers.

The NIA was allotted P10M, which was given to the irrigator’s association members who were tapped to remove the sediments in heavily silted irrigation canals to improve the flow of water so this could reach the farms.

Because of the decreased flow, the water may not be sufficient for rice production, but it can sustain other crops that do not need as much water as the rice.

From the P502M, Lacambra said P80M is yet to be disbursed, but he added they expect to distribute the amount to qualified beneficiaries until the second quarter of the year.

He added DOLE has also a P30M allocation for district representatives who are sponsoring the Bagong Pilipinas caravan, which is designed to bring the government closer to the people in one venue where the public can avail of the services of various agencies.

The recent caravan was held at Benguet State University in La Trinidad, Benguet.

However, because not all the representatives in the Cordillera can sponsor the holding of a Bagong Pilipinas caravan, Lacambra said DOLE has provided P5M each for the region’s congressional districts, provincial governments, and Baguio City; Tabuk City, Kalinga; and Bangued, Abra, among other LGUs.